Birmingham, 35 Miles - James Braziel

*** A superb demonstration of the author’s writing skills ... but nothing more than that

This is a sad story, without hope, between dream and madness, made of continuous leaps forward and backward in time by the protagonist, who is the narrator.
Surely this is a superb demonstration of creative writing by James Braziel, who happens to teach this subject at university.
But beyond that there isn’t much more to say.
I could understand if all this drama, this sadness, and madness had been used to see through the eyes of a character in a realistic situation, which could happen in a real context. The creative effort would be worthy, although I would have avoided the book completely, because when I read I want to enjoy myself, not get depressed.
But this is about an absolutely unlikely post-apocalyptic future, in short, drama and sadness for its own sake, in order to depress the reader, quite the opposite of what it seems from the synopsis on the back cover (I’m referring to the Italian edition that I’ve read) which is deliberately misleading (just to sell the book or maybe who wrote it didn’t even read the book).
In reading this novel by Braziel you have the feeling more than anything else that this is a sort of long sad prologue to the proper story, but there’s no other story.
Maybe it is in the following book, “Snakeskin Road”, published a year after and that follows the story of the wife of the protagonist?
I don’t know if I want to take risks and read this book as well.
On the positive side, however, the novel is quite short. Ultimately the author isn’t verbose and tells masterfully the backstory of the protagonist, which led him until the epilogue, in part already predicted by the beginning.
The reading goes on smoothly and the novel is compelling, I cannot deny this, but when I decide to read a science fiction novel I expect something different.

Birmingham, 35 Miles on Amazon.